Adults with an intellectual disability facing severely reduced day-service hours – Pauline Tully TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully TD today criticised the Minister for State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte for the continued severe reduction in day-service hours for many adults with an intellectual disability.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:
“Adult day-services for people with an intellectual disability were closed completely in March 2020 in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“They reopened again in September 2020 but due to public health advice on social distancing this happened in a severely restricted manner, with capacity at 39%.
“When challenged on the inadequacy of this restricted reopening and the need to fully reopen day-services by people with disabilities, their families, representative organisations and opposition parties, the government eventually announced that funding would be made available to ensure day-services could increase their capacity to 60%.
“However, it is the case that I am hearing more and more reports from people that the day-service of their family member is still severely reduced, well below the 60% figure announced by the Minister, or even worse they have no day-service now at all.
“While a small number of facilities are being used as either COVID-19 isolation or testing centres, service users that usually received their supports from these locations should have been offered either supports at another location or outreach or home-based supports.
“One woman with down syndrome who had been attending day-services for 30 hours a week pre-Covid is currently only been offered six hours per week, along with an occasional Friday.
“Her parents are at the end of their tether.
“They have continuously asked when their daughter's hours will be increased, only to be told that the reduction is due to the social distancing guidelines.
“Another woman, also with down syndrome, had been attending a HSE-funded service, everyday but since the pandemic she has not been able to set foot in her day service.
“Every time her parents ask if her day service has reopened, they are simply told no, that it is still closed.
“This is entirely unacceptable.
“The HSE have published a list of contact details of day-service providers on their website.
“This list should include what level of capacity each of these providers are open at and if they successfully applied for funding to increase their capacity.
“If they have not applied for funding questions need to be asked as to why not.
“If they have been successful in applying for funding but their capacity has not increased to the appropriate level then they need to be taken to task on this and either increase their capacity or pay back the money they received.
“The government needs to ensure that public money has been spent appropriately and that day-service facilities are open at the capacity level the Minister announced.”